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Bespoke Careers

13 July 2018

13 July 2018

Gulla Jónsdóttir , Los Angeles: Artistic, Integrity, Natural.

The Culture of Practice

Jónsdóttir was only 19 when she moved from Iceland to Los Angeles to study architecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 1989. After graduating, she earned her chops at Richard Meier (having turned down a job offer from Frank Gehry) working on the Getty Center Museum. 

Her studio is located in the tightly knit community of West Hollywood, where Jónsdóttir is about to open a gallery-atelier space at the neighbourhood’s first boutique hotel, which she designed. “When I started my company in 2009, I was on 633 N La Peer,” says Jónsdóttir. “Now I’m moving back into my old address.” 

Hotels are in her DNA. Located on Melrose Avenue and La Peer Drive, her passion for curves is exemplified throughout, which is set to become a cornerstone of the community. “Being a neighbour and a resident of West Hollywood I felt very close to the project,” she says. For Jónsdóttir, who helmed a show at the Salone del Mobile with nine other artists and designers from Los Angeles, it’s all about collaboration at the studio. “I’m very much about open spaces, I don’t need a private office for myself. I want it to be a family here, for everybody to talk to each other and share ideas.” If architecture is frozen music, proffers Jónsdóttir, then it has to have movement and good flow. “We have a good time and that’s how ideas flow. I always say ‘a happy designer is a better designer.’ We enjoy each other’s company as well, which is important. When I hire people it’s about their talent, but it’s also about their personality.” 

One of the benefits of working for a smaller studio is that each person gets to do a variety of work. “You’re not just drawing staircases for two years. You get to dabble in a little bit of everything from furniture design and branding to all aspects of the work,” explains Jónsdóttir, who is committed to creating a culture that combines rigour, balance and joie de vivre. With a team of ten talented women, they push the boundaries in every aspect of design, while breaking some glass ceilings too.


Author: Kat Hall, Marketing Assistant, Bespoke Careers

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